Former HMCS Malahat member Petty Officer Second Class Fiona Borland remembered as caring and selfless

PO2 Borland

PO2 Fiona Borland, accompanied by her husband CPO2 Randy Young, receives a Maritime Forces Pacific Commanding Officer’s Bravo Zulu Award in February 2018 for her tireless work and advocacy.  
Photo supplied.

Sub-Lieutenant Donald Den
HMCS Malahat Public Affairs Officer, and
Chief Petty Officer Second Class (ret’d) Randy Young 

This year’s annual Ceremonial Divisions at Victoria’s Naval Reserve Division, HMCS Malahat, included a new award.

HMCS Malahat’s acting Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Anne Gardam presented Sailor Third Class (S3) Brian Haug with the Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Fiona Borland Memorial Trophy on April 9.

“PO2 Borland was the epitome of what we value in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and her sparkle is sorely missed,” says LCdr Gardam.

The trophy is presented to a junior non-commissioned member who exemplifies courage and compassion, and fosters esprit de corps, generosity, concern for others, and goes beyond the call of duty to support and mentor other sailors.

PO2 Borland lost her hard-fought battle with cancer on October 23, 2021. Her memory remains strong with her husband of 33 years, Chief Petty Officer Second Class (CPO2) (retired) Randy Young. He noted S3 Haug is ‘just like Fiona; always looking out for others’.

Fiona Borland joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve in June 1984. She served in HMCS Malahat for 33 years, with a brief 18-month stint in 1989 with Halifax’s Naval Reserve Division, HMCS Scotian. Throughout her career, Borland worked in the recruiting, operations, and training departments.

During her time in Malahat, she became well-known for her big smile, sense of fun, deep sense of compassion, and commitment to events like the Children’s Christmas Party, which she organized for many years.

“There were many people who sought her out to tell her she had been a very firm but compassionate leader that made a huge difference in their life,” says Young. “She loved bellowing out commands. She was tiny, but she could yell.”

PO2 Borland also worked as a Section Commander at the CAF Transition Centre in Esquimalt, providing services to Forces members, veterans, and their families. She continued working at the Centre after her cancer diagnosis in late 2015, even as she went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Young and his wife felt well-supported by the Forces during that extremely difficult time.

“Everywhere I went, people covered for me, and no one ever complained about it,” he says.

Young recalls how supportive his Commanding Officer at the Fleet School, Captain (Navy) Ed Hooper was. He told Young to be wherever PO2 Borland was, which meant the world to Young.

“Even the people at the pharmacy were unbelievable. They knew some of the stuff we would need, and made sure we had it,” he says. “We felt blessed to have been part of such a compassionate and wonderful family as the Canadian Forces.”

In addition to volunteering at work, PO2 Borland also volunteered with the BC SPCA, and was an avid supporter of the CIBC Run for the Cure, both before and after her diagnosis.

“She was just the kind of person that cared more about other people than herself,” says Young.

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